Twitter just agreed to buy its long-time partner Gnip, a data company that anaylizes and sells Twitter data to a host of third parties companies. Gnip is the largest provider of social data in the world.
In its announcement, Twitter’s VP of Global Business Development and Platform Jana Messerschmidt writes:
Public Tweets can reveal a wide variety of insights — so much so that academic institutions, journalists, marketers, brands, politicians and developers regularly use aggregated Twitter data to spot trends, analyze sentiment, find breaking news, connect with customers and much more.
It is true that Twitter has become a powerful tool for social science researchers and journalists, but ultimately this move will help Twitter make its fire hose of data more palatable to Fortune 500 companies. The bottom line down the road is that Twitter needs to continue to find ways to monetize, and data about what we like, what shows we watch, where we are, how old we are, if we have dogs, what time we go to bed, etc. etc. is incredibly valuable to brands who want to target ads to us. They will pay handsomely for it. And now, they will pay Twitter directly.